Ann Robinson in ‘The War of the Worlds’ (1953)
Film Synopsis: (allmovie.com)
H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds had been on the Paramount Pictures docket since the silent era, when it was optioned as a potential Cecil B. DeMille production. When Paramount finally got around to a filming the Wells novel, the property was firmly in the hands of special-effects maestro George Pal. Like Orson Welles’s infamous 1938 radio adaptation, the film eschews Wells’s original Victorian England setting for a contemporary American locale, in this case Southern California. A meteorlike object crash-lands near the small town of Linda Rosa. Among the crowd of curious onlookers is Pacific Tech scientist Gene Barry, who strikes up a friendship with Ann Robinson, the niece of local minister Lewis Martin. Because the meteor is too hot to approach at present, Barry decides to wait a few days to investigate, leaving three townsmen to guard the strange, glowing object. Left alone, the three men decide to approach the meterorite, and are evaporated for their trouble. It turns out that this is no meteorite, but an invading spaceship from the planet Mars. The hideous-looking Martians utilize huge, mushroomlike flying ships, equipped with heat rays, to pursue the helpless earthlings. When the military is called in, the Martians demonstrate their ruthlessness by “zapping” Ann’s minister uncle, who’d hoped to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff. As Barry and Ann seek shelter, the Martians go on a destructive rampage. Nothing-not even an atom-bomb blast-can halt the Martian death machines. The film’s climax occurs in a besieged Los Angeles, where Barry fights through a crowd of refugees and looters so that he may be reunited with Ann in Earth’s last moments of existence. In the end, the Martians are defeated not by science or the military, but by bacteria germs-or, to quote H.G. Wells, “the humblest things that God in his wisdom has put upon the earth.” Forty years’ worth of progressively improving special effects have not dimmed the brilliance of George Pal’s War of the Worlds. Even on television, Pal’s Oscar-winning camera trickery is awesome to behold. So indelible an impression has this film made on modern-day sci-fi mavens that, when a 1988 TV version of War of the Worlds was put together, it was conceived as a direct sequel to the 1953 film, rather than a derivation of the Wells novel or the Welles radio production.
Short Bio: (wikipedia.org)
Ann Robinson (born May 25, 1929) is an American actress and stunt horse rider, perhaps best known for her work in the film, The War of the Worlds and in the 1955 film Dragnet, in which she starred opposite Jack Webb and Ben Alexander.
As a stunt horse rider, Robinson doubled for Shelly Winters in the 1950 film Frenchie, starring and riding in several westerns during her career such as The Cimarron Kid (1951) with Audie Murphy, Gun Brothers (1956), and Gun Duel in Durango (1957).
Paramount Pictures signed her as an actress in the early 1950s. Her first leading role was as “Sylvia Van Buren” in that studio’s 1953 film, The War of the Worlds co-starred with Gene Barry, a role she quasi-reprised in two later films, first as Dr. Van Buren in Midnight Movie Massacre in 1988 and then as Dr. Sylvia Van Buren in The Naked Monster in 2005. She also reprised the role in three episodes of the 1988 television series, War of the Worlds. Robinson worked on several other films, including Imitation of Life (1959), and Julie (1956). She also had a starring role opposite Jack Webb and Ben Alexander in 1955 Film Dragnet.
From 1955 to 1959, Robinson was cast in ten episodes of the NBC children’s western television series, Fury in the role of Helen Watkins, the teacher of series character Joey Clark Newton, played by Bobby Diamond, and a romantic interest of Joey’s adopted father, Jim Newton, portrayed by Peter Graves.
Her other television roles were on Adam 12, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bachelor Father, Ben Casey, Biff Baker, U.S.A., The Bob Cummings Show, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Days Of Our Lives, Four Star Playhouse, General Hospital, Gilligan’s Island, It’s a Great Life, The Millionaire, My Little Margie, Perry Mason, Peter Gunn, Police Woman, Rawhide, Rocky Jones Space Ranger, Rory Calhoun’s The Texan, Waterfront, and The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.
Robinson was featured in several commercials for Home Savings of America, Toni home perms, and Chesterfield Cigarettes. She performed a number of film voice-overs also, in English and Spanish. She did the leading actress’ voice in To Begin Again, which won the 1984 Oscar for best foreign film. She also did loops for the Bruce Lee Series, The Dead Are Alive, Tough Guys, and Survive.
In the 2005 Steven Spielberg film, War of the Worlds, she played the role of Tom Cruise’s character’s mother-in-law, the grandmother of Dakota Fanning’s character.